Update: 05.05.2014

International Feedback: Complaints units

In the following we have chosen some citations on the subject. At the end of each original citation you can find the source with a link to the complete text of the citation.

Committee against torture CAT

«The State party must ensure that prompt, thorough and impartial inquiries are held into all allegations of violence or mistreatment by police, that the perpetrators are prosecuted and, if proven guilty, punished in proportion to the seriousness of their acts, that victims receive compensation and, where appropriate, rehabilitation. The State party must also continue training police officials and raising their awareness of human rights and, in particular, of the provisions of the Convention. In its next report, it must inform the Committee of any ongoing investigations and their outcome.»


«The Committee notes that, in the State party, complaints of police violence, torture and mistreatment may be brought before the ordinary courts. Nevertheless, it is concerned that the State party has not yet fully implemented the Committee’s recommendation to establish, in each canton, independent mechanisms of investigation to deal with complaints of violence or mistreatment lodged against police officials. It reminds the State party that the possibility of seeking remedy in the ordinary courts should not prevent the establishment of such mechanisms (arts. 2, 12 and 16). The State party must ensure the creation in each canton of an independent mechanism empowered to receive any complaints of violence or mistreatment on the part of the police and to investigate them promptly, thoroughly and impartially.»


«The Committee reiterates its concern that only a minority of complaints of violence or mistreatment by the police result in prosecutions or charges being brought and that only a few lead to compensation being offered to victims or their families (arts. 2, 12 and 13). The State party must systematically conduct impartial, thorough and effective inquiries into all allegations of violence committed by the police, and prosecute and punish the perpetrators in proportion to the seriousness of their acts. It should also ensure that victims or their families receive compensation. The State party should inform the Committee of the outcome of current proceedings.»


«Take measures to compile, at national level, disaggregated data relating to the cases of alleged torture or ill-treatment, in particular in the context of the application of the law on asylum and the law on foreigners, as well as to the outcomes of any investigations and prosecutions that might be pursued.»

«Ensure that all complaints for acts of ill-treatment are properly and effectively investigated and that the alleged perpetrators are prosecuted and if found guilty sanctioned accordingly. Victims and their families should be informed of their right to pursue compensation and procedures should be made more transparent. In this regard, the State party should provide written information to the Committee on the steps taken to compensate the families of the two victims of the two recent cases of death caused during forcible deportation.»


«Encourage all cantons to establish independent mechanisms entrusted to receive complaints against members of the police regarding cases of torture or ill-treatment.»

Human Rights Committee CCPR

«The State party should ensure that all cantons create an independent mechanism with authority to receive and effectively investigate all complaints of excessive use of force, ill-treatment or other abuses by the police. All perpetrators should be prosecuted and punished, and victims compensated. The State party should create a national statistical database on complaints lodged against the police. The State party should also increase efforts to ensure that minorities are adequately represented in the police forces.»


«The State party should ensure that independent bodies with authority to receive and investigate effectively all complaints of excessive use of force and other abuses of power by the police are established in all cantons.  The powers of such bodies should be sufficient to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice or, as appropriate, are subject to disciplinary sanctions sufficient to deter future abuses and that the victims are adequately compensated (article 7 of the Covenant).»

Committee on the Rights of the Child CRC

«Set up child-sensitive mechanisms in all cantons to receive complaints against law-enforcement officers regarding ill-treatment during arrest, questioning and policecustody; and.»

Committee on the Elimination of Racism CERD

«Allegations of police abuse and excessive use of force against persons of foreign origin during arrest or in the course of deportations are also of concern. The Committee notes thatmany cantons do not have independent mechanisms for investigation of complaints regardingviolence and abuse by the police, and that sanctions against responsible officers have been rare. The State party should ensure that independent bodies with authority to investigate complaintsagainst police officers are established in all cantons. Efforts should also be made to recruitmembers of minority groups into the police and to provide sensitization and training of police officers on issues of racial discrimination.»

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance ECRI

«ECRI encourages the authorities to ensure that bodies to assist and advise victims of racism and discrimination are set up at cantonal level, and coordianted at the centrel level.»


«ECRI recommends that firm measures be taken to deal with the problem of police mistreatment of persons from minority groups. A first important step would be the introduction of a system of independent investigation into all allegations of polilce mistreatment, be it at the federal or cantonal level.»

European Human Rights Commissioner

«promote the appointment of ombudspersons in cantons (and towns) and give them the powers and resources they need, among other things, to assist prison inmates and asylum-seekers (both those whose applications are rejected out of hand, and those whose applications are processed and then rejected); reconsider favourably, within a reasonable time, the appointment of a federal ombudsperson; set up an independent national institution for the protection and promotion of human rights.»

© humanrights.ch / MERS - Hallerstr. 23 - CH-3012 Bern - Tel. +41 31 302 01 61